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Julien, Bruins Use Day Off to Refocus

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins – There’s an old adage that says practice makes perfect. But in the NHL sometimes a day off doesn’t hurt either.

That’s what Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien gave his team as they prepared to fly from Minnesota to St. Louis for Wednesday’s game with the Blues (36-16-7).

“When you’re not winning, you think that sometimes practicing more will solve the issue,” Julien said. “And yet I sense there’s a lot of weight on their shoulders right now, you can feel it – it’s heavy.  I don’t know that just practicing and practicing will make a difference. I know our guys are a little tired as well.

“It’s that time of year where you get that way and we keep going back to what we were saying at the beginning of the year – we didn’t have a very long summer. Where other team’s players had an opportunity to have more time off – we haven’t.”

With the day off, the team will have a chance to get away from last night’s 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild and refocus for Wednesday’s game against St. Louis.

But there’s no doubt that the Bruins (35-20-2) will hit the ice hard for practice tomorrow.

“If we go into that game with the same kind of weight we have on our shoulders lately, it might be a tough night,” Julien said. “Somehow we got to take that weight off our shoulders and just go out and play and give it all you got, and you might be surprised at what you can come out with.

“Sometimes a good opponent and going out there with that attitude can make a lot of things happen so that’s what you have to hope for.”

When the Bruins take the ice tomorrow, there may be a change in the lines. During the third period of Sunday’s loss, Julien moved forward Chris Kelly to center David Krejci’s line, who moved over to right wing.

The move was made to try and find some consistency in offensive production, according to Julien.

“They did some good things,” Julien said. “There’s a good chance we may go back with that, we’ve got a couple of days to look at things here and make those decisions. You need options sometimes, and I was just looking at some different options.

“If we can have more of those kinds of lines that can give us a consistent good showing, I think you’re going to have to stick with it.”

Over the last few games, Julien has rolled out a handful of changes to his lines, hoping to spark a suitable replacement after losing Rich Peverley on Feb. 15.

Prior to losing Peverley, the Bruins were also playing without Nathan Horton (concussion) for nine games.

“When you’re struggling, it’s hard to get those combinations going in the right direction because it just doesn’t seem pucks are going in right now,” Julien said. “There’s frustration – the injuries are coming when we’re trying to find our game so I guess it’s snowballed and is making things tougher.”

However, despite the frustration that is mounting when trying to find the right line combinations, Julien is certain his team will prevail through the midseason funk.

“We’re a good enough team to be way better than we are – we’ve seen it,” Julien said of the Bruins, who are 4-6 in their last 10 games. “We just have to find it back again.

"Every year we’ve gone through it, and every year we’ve gotten out of it. It’s not about assuming we’ll get out of it, it’s about working our way out of it.”

And for the B’s bench boss, there is no doubt he has the right group of players to pull out of it.

“Tough times don’t last, but tough players do,” Julien said. “And we have a bunch of tough players in there that will battle through it.”

---- Anthony Gulizia
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